Asbestosis is a serious medical condition that is caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral that was used for many years in a many manufacturing and construction applications because of its effectiveness in insulation and fireproofing. Asbestos is made up of both straight fibers and curved fibers, but it is the straight, thin fibers called amphiboles that cause problems. As with Mesothelioma, Asbestosis is another asbestos-related disease.
Asbestos dust is made up of these pointy elements, and it is present in large quantities wherever asbestos is used. Once they've been breathed in they are nearly impossible to expel and over a period of time, they cause changes in lung tissue that can be devastating to your health. In most cases, it takes decades for the impact of asbestos to make itself known.
For some people, the fibers end up causing cellular damage that transforms the surrounding tissues into fatal tumors known as Mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is an always fatal form of lung cancer, but for those who contract asbestosis, the end result is the formation of a permanent layer of scar tissue within the lining of the lungs. The chronic condition that follows is characterized by shortness of breath. For a lucky few this condition is minor, but for others, the condition is so severe that it has a profound impact on the quality of their life.
If you've been diagnosed with asbestosis as a result of workplace exposure to asbestos dust, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills as well as for the suffering that it has caused you. The experienced attorneys at Danziger & De Llano can help you to pursue legal action against those who exposed you to this harmful toxin and will make sure that you receive the justice you deserve.
Symptoms of Asbestosis
Asbestosis shares many of the same symptoms as other, less damaging illnesses, and since it takes such a long time between exposure to asbestos and the appearance of the disease, it often takes a very astute physician to accurately diagnose it – many times a good deal of time is spent misdiagnosing asbestosis as something else before testing definitively identifies it.
Asbestosis shares many of the same symptoms as other, less damaging illnesses, and since it takes such a long time between exposure to asbestos and the appearance of the disease, it often takes an experienced doctor to accurately diagnose it – many times a good deal of time is spent misdiagnosing asbestosis as something else before testing definitively identifies it.
The most common symptom of asbestosis is shortness of breath and that is usually only when the patients exert themselves. Frequently this symptom is ignored as people put the inability to catch their breath down to being out of shape or overweight. But soon this symptom is followed by a dry cough that is painful and frequent. It is usually only when this symptom arises that patients finally go to their doctor. Because so many illnesses share these symptoms identification of asbestosis usually takes quite a long time.
Diagnosing and Treating Asbestosis
Once a patient shows up with the symptoms of coughing and shortness of breath, a doctor generally takes a full history along with a physical, inquiring as to previous illnesses. A physician who is familiar with lung conditions caused by workplace exposure may go ahead and ask about asbestos, but most don't right away. Most employees don't think of the material because so many years have gone by. Identification of a history of working with asbestos cuts down the amount of time that it takes to diagnose the illness.
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Holding Responsible Parties Accountable for Asbestosis
Although it is unusual for people to be exposed to asbestos today in the same way that took place prior to the 1970s when its handling was unregulated, there are still instances of unethical, irresponsible employers putting their employee's health at risk.
Likewise, although the rules about the correct way to use asbestos were not put into place in the United States until the 1970s, the dangers of the material had been well-established for decades prior to that. Many companies knowingly put their employee's health at risk in the interest of continuing profitability. Because of this knowledge as well as the fact that asbestosis can often develop into more serious conditions such as mesothelioma, or can impact a person’s health so severely that they are unable to continue to work and support their family, compensation is often available for asbestosis victims.
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